When I moved back to Kenya last December, Kelvin was one of the first people I looked up. We’d chatted a bit online, and we talked for a good three hours about all things business. I now consider him a friend and a mentor, and he’s still the first person I call when I want to slap a client and I need to talk politely instead. He’s very good at Customer Care.
Kelvin and I laid out a lot of plans during that first meeting at T-spot. Some I implemented immediately, some took a little while longer, and some I completely forgot about for months. For example, it wasn’t until July that I signed up on GAF and Elance, and I didn’t get active until a month later. I’m now fairly settled with that. It’s not without challenges, but I know that I’ll get there eventually.
Another item on our agenda was starting an online shop. The idea was to gather all my little stories and put them on a platform. I’m very organised, but I’m also a bit of scatterbrain, so I have little bits of note paper, poetry verses, and half-finished novels that I’ve scribbled in my notebooks. Kelvin felt we could aggregate them and possibly make some money. I didn’t give the idea much thought until DukaPress came up. I’d always said I’d get the books PDFed and throw in some Photoshop covers, but I just never got round to doing it.
When Nickel Pro developed DukaPress, I didn’t know what it was, but I downloaded it anyway. Kelvin said it was a good idea, and after all, it was free. It sat idle on my dashboard for maybe another month while I fiddled around with Photoshop. I logged in occasionally to tweak the settings or something, but for the most part, it was just a pretty orange thing on my sidebar. Then Kelvin released this video and I immediately set it up. I drew up a quick book cover with Photoshop and google images, and posted my first two books on the shop.
The next few days were frustrating, because I realised that I’d have to buy a new Safaricom line to support Mpesa. *groan* I kept getting blank and partial orders, some of which were from me and Kelvin testing the system. I somehow clicked Paypal Sandbox and ended up opening a whole new account – I have no idea just what it was or why. But Kelvin helped me out and showed me where to click and where to check, and finally the shop was all set up.
Next came the Paypal issue. If I wanted to use Paypal, I would have to price the books in dollars , which is fine, except I kept thinking of this post and feeling like a dreadlocked Judas. I tweaked the shop like four times a day, mostly changing from Ksh to US$ and back again. If my website had a voice [and a hand] I’m sure it would have slapped me a thousand times over.
Yesterday I spent the whole day fimalising products, uploading covers, images and whatnot. I was still undecided on the whole US$ vs Ksh debate, so I was pretty excited when I saw Kelvin announce DukaPress 1.3.0 on twitter. It allows multiple currencies. Yay! It also allows manual control of the image sizes. It took me a while to figure it out, and I spent ages tweaking dimensions, literally. I’m sure it was at least three hours. By midnight, I was happy with the look of the site and the products, and everything was good to go. I did manage to somehow warp my media window, but Kelvin released 1.3.1, and I updated it early this morning with fabulous results.
What I really like about DukaPress, besides the fact that it’s free, is that it’s user-friendly. Even a technobof like me could figure it out, though it took me a while. Kelvin and the other guys at Dukapress are always available to solve problems, and you can even catch them on twitter. The interphase is smooth and pretty, and you can see results immediately, which is pretty awesome. I don’t have to mess with code to see my preferences flow, and it makes me feel like a nerd chick. Uber cool.
If you haven’t got DukaPress yet, I suggest you go download it. Business is all about selling stuff, and when someone gives you a prime, rent-free business space, you’d better find something good to sell. As for me, I’m content now that Kiosk 3CB is open for business.
Crystal Ading’ is a professional writer, editor, rock lover, and mother. Her work is available through www.threeceebee.com.